(Memphis) President Obama is on his swing around the country after his State of the Union address last night.
He’s making the case that victims of gun violence deserve a vote by lawmakers on measures that would stiffen gun laws.
One of those he will hear from is a young prosecutor from Memphis.
She prosecuted a murder case involving a teenager who died three months after shaking the president’s hand.
Her letter begins, “Dear President Obama. My name is Jessica Banti and I’m a prosecutor in Memphis, Tennessee.”
Jessica Banti goes through a lot of cases but the murder trial involving 18-year-old Jerome Brantley sticks with her.
When it wrapped up last month, she couldn’t get the case off her mind without letting the President of the United States know who Brantley was and why he died.
Brantley graduated from Booker T. Washington the year Mr. Obama was a guest speaker in Memphis.
“I just thought that the president should know that one of the students that he shook their hand at their graduation had died as a result of gun violence less than three months later,” said Banti.
It was Banti’s first murder case.
The jury acquitted the guy accused of shooting Jerome, but Banti isn’t letting the case go away that easy.
“A lot of the times when we see cases like this, we see victims who had gotten in trouble before. Jerome Brantley wasn’t one of those kids,” said Banti.
She said being bullied by gangs, Jerome made a bad decision.
Banti explains that in her letter, “He thought he could solve his problems by buying a gun. When all the gang members that pick on you have guns, it may seem like the only choice.”
Banti believes the man who shot Jerome never intended to sell him a gun.
She says it was a robbery that was set up when the money changed hands.
“There are a lot of victims of gun violence in our community and I’ll leave that to the politicans to discuss what kind of measures should be taken to try and prevent that,” said Banti.
However, Banti, like the President is convinced something must be done soon.
“There is something that needs to happen to prevent people like Jerome Brantley from getting shot on our streets,” she said.
Banti hasn’t heard back from the White House. She hopes she does. She says it would mean a lot to Jerome Brantley’s family.